Parks Canada will review transit options for Kootenay and Yoho National Parks


“Transit is still about how people move around the park, but it’s not about what they do when they get there and the potential impacts of having that volume of people in one place on the countryside.”

GROUND – Parks Canada will explore transit options for tourist hotspots in Kootenay and Yoho National Parks.

The new management plans for both mountain parks also talk about developing visitor use management strategies.

In Yoho, visits will continue to be concentrated in several high demand areas of the park such as Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake and Field, and in Kootenay at Marble Canyon, Paint Pots, Radium Hot Springs Pools and Stanley Glacier.

According to the new Yoho National Park Master Plan, the feasibility of developing alternative transportation options to provide access to Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake will be assessed before 2025.

In addition, options for establishing transit connections between the community of Field and park facilities such as Kicking Horse Campground and Natural Bridge Day Use Area will be explored.

“Visits to high-traffic areas will be managed to reduce traffic congestion, prioritize public safety and provide quality experiences,” says the new master plan, which sets out the park’s strategic direction for visitors. next 10 years.

Other popular hiking and sightseeing options in Yoho will continue at Sherbrooke Lake, Wapta Falls, Natural Bridge, Mount Hunter and Hoodoos Trails.

“Park maintenance and trail team resources will be focused on supporting these experiences,” according to the management plan.

“The vast majority of the rest of the park’s landscape will be protected in wilderness areas with low levels of human use.”

In Kootenay National Park, busy day-use areas and trailheads, such as Stanley Glacier, will be assessed for their ecological impacts, visitor experience issues, and parking congestion issues.

“Management tools such as improved parking configuration, trail use reservations or shuttle systems are being considered to mitigate these challenges,” according to the new management plan.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) says public transit offers a great opportunity to solve traffic congestion, parking issues and visitor experience by making it easier to get to trailheads.

Sarah Elmeligi, national parks program coordinator for CPAWS Southern Alberta, said getting vehicles off the road also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution.

“But one of the things that I don’t think is related to this idea of ​​public transit is that the volume of people at the trailhead may not change, and it could, in fact, increase if more people take public transit,” she said.

“Transit is still about how people move around the park, but it’s not about what they do when they get there and the potential impacts of having that volume of people in one place on the countryside.”

Elmeligi said she likes the commitment in the plans that visitor use management strategies will be evidence-based and in the context of achieving ecological integrity.

But, she said, the plans’ goals and targets don’t say how it will happen.

“There’s a bit of a disconnect between saying how you’re going to have this visitor use management strategy, but then the goals and targets are mostly talking about a visitor use management strategy for areas high traffic and identifying key markets,” she said.

The management plan for Kootenay National Park talks about the need to mitigate wildlife mortality on roads. With Highway 93 south running through the center of the park, CPAWS is concerned that there aren’t any specific targets or objectives around it.

“I think that’s a big thing that’s missing, but we know that Highway 93 South is a problem in terms of congestion, speed, and wildlife-vehicle collision fatalities,” Elmeligi said.

“I know Kootenay has already done quite a bit – there are fences and a crossing structure by Dolly Varden – but wildlife-vehicle collisions still happen and it would have been nice to see what their next steps are. steps on this.”

In Yoho National Park, the management plan calls for the creation of a new day-use facility near the western boundary of the park, in conjunction with improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway, to serve as a reception and orientation station for eastbound travelers.

Frontcountry camping demand will also be addressed at Monarch and Kicking Horse Campgrounds and the possibility of restoring part of a former campground at the west end of the park will also be considered.

In the backcountry, the Lake O’Hara Campground will be upgraded to address deteriorating tent site conditions.

Little Yoho Valley Campground will be moved from its current location to a new site near the footbridge over the Little Yoho River. In addition, backcountry camping facilities at Twin Falls and Laughing Falls will be upgraded, but current overnight capacity will remain the same.

The possibility of moving the Whiskey Jack Hostel further away from a nearby avalanche path, consolidating the infrastructure footprint and improving overnight accommodation will be explored with partners including Hostelling International and the Alpine Club of Canada.

“If implemented, the footprint of a new facility will be within the existing areas of Zones III and IV at Takakkaw Falls, or in the village of Field…,” the management plan states. Overall, CPAWS says the management plans for Yoho and Kootenay are a far cry from previous ones.

“I think they’re a big improvement over the last one,” Elmeligi said.


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